Maritime News

More migrants drown as they set out for Europe

12 May 2017

The number of migrants losing their lives as they try to cross the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe has been steadily rising with the better spring and summer weather. 

Over the last weekend, around 250 people drowned in two separate shipwrecks off the Libyan coast. A reported 163 people were missing from one boat, with a further 82 missing in another sinking; about 50 people were rescued and taken to Sicily after this boat went down.

Although there are reports that fewer people are making the perilous crossing, the number of deaths has been rising as people smugglers deliberately cram people into overcrowded and unseaworthy boats and dinghies. More than 1,300 people have died or disappeared while trying to cross the Mediterranean from Libya in 2017 so far. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, has said that, one person out of 35 has died attempting the sea journey this year.

Survivors of one of the latest shipwrecks told the authorities in Sicily that 140 people had been pushed from one boat on to a small rubber dinghy that could not hold more than 30, which then capsized. The survivors were rescued by a Danish cargo ship. 

In a further tragedy, at least 16 people drowned while trying to make the short sea crossing from Turkey to the Greek island of Lesbos. The number of journeys and deaths on this route had fallen dramatically following a deal between the European Union and Turkey a year ago.



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